The second Victorian backcountry festival will happen at Mt Hotham over the weekend of September 7 and 8.

Here is a summary of what’s happening:

Highlights of the program

  • Meet at 8.30am on Saturday morning, upstairs at The General Store (just next to the Big D lift) for the festival opening.
  • Most tours start Saturday am.
  • Speaker’s program will run Upstairs at The General Store from 12 noon – 4pm. Great line up of speakers.
  • The outdoor bar will happen from 4 – 6pm on the Saturday, straight after the conclusion of the speakers program.
  • Kick on Saturday night at Blizzard Brewery at Dinner Plain.
  • Tours continue on Sunday.
  • Finish the weekend with a Protect Our Winters info night and films at The Bird in Hotham Central on sunday night.

[Full details are in the program, see below]

For details on tours that have just been offered, please check here.

Please remember to register for the weekend. Its only $10 a person.

The program

The program now has 28 sessions on offer. Most are free. They cover everything from cross country and tele skiing, split boarding, alpine touring, to avalanche safety, snow shoeing and fat tyre bikes.

Some sessions are booking out (the Lets Split session has a wait list) so I’d suggest you book in to the sessions you’re interested in. The program has the contact details for each tour organiser. Please contact them directly to enquire or book in. They will tell you what gear and skill level you need.

A reminder we have an extended speakers session this year, covering practical things like boots and split boarding basics, some big picture issues like climate change and winter sports, and lots of backcountry eye candy from people like Hotham legend Buff Farnell, who will share images of some of his favourite spots on and around the hill. This will happen saturday afternoon at The General. Details here.

If you can make it a three day weekend, we’re pushing the festival out to the limits: there is an info night and mini film festival on the Sunday night at The Bird organised for Protect Our Winters. It features some great speakers, including Bill Barker, head of Hotham ski patrol. Details here.

There are still avalanche courses available (2 day courses, offering the Canadian curriculum, AST1). Details here.

The three day trip to Feathertop (Sept 9 – 11) is now full, but you can ask to go on the wait list. If you’ve ever looked across at that gorgeous mountain and thought about skiing/ riding out there, this may be your year! Details here.

We also have an ‘on ski’ film-making workshop with Steve Curtain, who made the legendary Australian backcountry film Winter Dreaming. Protect Our Winters (POW) Australia seeks your 30-second story on what protecting winter means to you in a film-making workshop ski tour ‘out the back’ and Steve will show you how to make it. This will happen on the Saturday. Details here.

Check here for the social events (including the ski in outdoor bar on Saturday afternoon).

We did time the festival to be in the ‘shoulder’ season so accommodation will be a little bit cheaper. It would be wise to book something in. Ideas here.

Ideas on buses and ride sharing available here.

There are details on hiring gear (splitboards, alpine touring skis, etc) available here.

There will be a swap meet for backcountry gear on sat the 7th (details here).

Check here for ideas on having a low impact festival and a summary of the causes we’re supporting during the festival.

Facebook event page available here.

Specific programs

Check here for details on the cross country and telemark program.

Check here for split boarding specific tours.

Check here for the Alpine Touring (AT) specific tours.

Check here for the women specific aspects of the program.


Please note that as a 100% volunteer run festival we DO NOT have insurance coverage for participants. You join the festival at your own risk.

See you there!